The dreaded kids craft...
“Kids arts and crafts stuff is the bane of my life! I want to encourage creativity, but it’s never tidy. What do you do with half-finished projects for kids? I feel guilty sending them to landfill!”
Kids arts and crafts is an area that I hear about a lot and it causes a lot of angst among parents. It is one of those areas that requires quite a lot of upkeep, but there are a couple of ways that we can make it easier.
First, do a big declutter. Find the things that you all enjoy using and let go of those that don’t. Schools/groups are often very happy to have the excess.
Then I’d suggest a minimalist approach to the things that they can access. Too much choice can be overwhelming and lead to a reduction in creativity. Have easy access to the basics (pens, pencils, paper), perhaps on a trolly (ours is in the middle of the Home Ed room table, but I appreciate that many people don’t have one of those!). Keep like with like and make it easy to put things away.
Keep the other things away in a cupboard and cycle them out periodically. Paints one week/month, modelling clay the next. Obviously if they then have a burning desire to do something specific, then get that out and use that, but put it away after. If you have those big sets that often arrive at Christmas and Birthdays, bring them out one at a time.
With half finished projects (for anyone, not just the kids!), it’s important to remember the fun that has been had up until this point. The doing of the activity was where joy was, not forcing it to be finished or feeling guilty because you are surrounded by things that don’t bring you joy.
First of all, check the projects to see how you feel about them – if they still bring you joy and you love them, then keep them! However, if they don’t, thank them for the skills they have taught, strip out the things that can be recycled and let the project go.
With landfill – it’s understandable to feel antsy about things going there, but once things are made, they will end up there eventually anyway. Your home is not a landfill site and is not an appropriate place for landfill items to live. The space in your home is valuable. Use those feelings to prevent yourself from buying them in the first place next time.